Cairn Energy Tax Dispute: Have not received a notice over 'seizing' of Indian assets in Paris, Centre says
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Union Finance Ministry on Thursday clarified that it has not received a notice or any order from any French Court that Britain's Cairn Energy Plc has seized Indian state-owned properties in Paris to recover a USD 1.7 billion arbitration award it won last year.
In a statement, the Finance Ministry said that the Centre has applied to set aside the international arbitral award in The Hague Court of Appeal, adding that it will "vigorously defend" its case in the Set Aside proceedings.
"The CEO and representatives of Cairns have approached Government of India for discussions to resolve the matter. Constructive discussions have been held and Government remains open for an amicable solution to the dispute within the country’s legal framework," the Finance Ministry said.
On June 11, a French Court had agreed to Cairn's application to freeze (through judicial mortgages) residential real estate owned by the Indian government in central Paris.
This came after a three-member international arbitration tribunal in December last year unanimously overturned levy of taxes on Cairn retrospectively and ordered refund of shares sold, dividend confiscated and tax refunds withheld to recover such demand.
With the Indian government refusing to honour the award, Cairn has moved in multiple overseas jurisdictions to enforce the award by seizing Indian assets.
Last month, Cairn brought a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York pleading that Air India is controlled by the Indian government so much that they are 'alter egos' and the airline should be held liable for the arbitration award.
Similar lawsuits are likely to be brought in other countries, primarily with high-value assets. The arbitration award has been registered in countries such as the US, UK, Canada, Singapore, Mauritius, France and the Netherlands.
Cairn has identified USD 70 billion of Indian assets overseas for the potential seizure to collect award, which now totals to USD 1.72 billion after including interest and penalty.
(With inputs from PTI)
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma